Topeka Prompted by last year's murder of a pregnant Wichita teenager, legislators are renewing their push for a law aimed at protecting mothers-to-be and the fetuses they are carrying.
But efforts to eliminate what some lawmakers view as a gap in Kansas law are tangled up in the larger debate over abortion. Groups on both sides are working on rival proposals dealing with crimes against pregnant women and their fetuses.
Abortion opponents back a proposal to declare that the definition of "person" in the state's criminal code covers an "unborn child," from conception. Abortion rights supporters prefer alternatives such as creating a new crime of harming a fetus or increasing penalties for crimes against women and girls if they are pregnant.
The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed Tuesday to sponsor a bill increasing the penalties for homicides if the victim is pregnant, and abortion rights advocates planned a news conference today. The House Judiciary Committee plans to have a hearing Thursday on the abortion opponents' proposal.